President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban of mostly Muslim-majority countries led to over 37,000 visa applications getting denied in 2018.
The “2017 Executive Order on Immigration” was cited as the reason for the denial of 15,384 immigrant visa applications and another 21,645 non-immigrant visa applications in 2018, according to government data released Tuesday. The State Department confirmed that the 2017 executive order refers to the president’s latest travel ban, which did not go into full effect until December 2017.
The United States denies a large amount of visa applications a year — almost 4 million. Application denials can be for a host of reasons, including abducting children and practicing polygamy. However, the latest figures shine a light on how immigration has been affected from the countries targeted in the White House’s current travel ban.
Trump issued two different travel bans in the beginning of his administration, but both were deemed unconstitutional by federal courts. The president’s third travel ban iteration, however, was able to go into effect by the tail end of 2017 and survived a Supreme Court ruling in June 2018.
The latest ban slaps foreign nationals from eight countries with varying levels of travel restrictions. The targeted countries have included the Muslim-majority nations of Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Chad and Syria, along with Venezuela and North Korea. Democrats and other Trump critics have framed the executive order as racist and claim it essentially serves as a ban on Muslim immigrants.
“As long as [Trump] puts a very thin veneer of national security on top of all that discrimination and racism, they will buy it,” stated then-Democratic Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, immediately following the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that upheld the ban. “It just proves one thing, if you steal and rip off a Supreme Court justice, then you can try to jam any kind of nasty racist ugly policy you can down the throats of the American people.”
Trump, for his part, has refused to bow to pressure from travel ban critics.
“There’s no reason to apologize,” the president said in April 2018 during a press conference. “Our immigration laws in this country are a total disaster. They’re laughed at all over the world, they’re laughed at for their stupidity. And we have to have strong immigration laws,” he continued. “There’s nothing to apologize for.” (RELATED: Google Employees Sought To Manipulate Search Results To Fight Trump’s Travel Ban: Report)
The ban has especially affected Libya, Iran, Syria, Yemen and Somalia, with foreign nationals from those five counties seeing an 80 percent drop in visas from 2016 to 2018.
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